Edited questions from Apartment Life, Sara Gebhardt's online discussion about rental issues.
QWASHINGTON: Is my landlord required to add interest to a security deposit she held for two years? I live in the District and my former landlord recently returned my security deposit with no interest. Can I do anything about this?
AIn the District, Maryland and Virginia, landlords are required to give deposits back with interest. In most states, though, they aren't. You can report your problem to the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, www.dcra.dc.gov.
WASHINGTON: My next-door neighbors were away for a week on vacation. They left their alarm clock blaring for two hours every day starting at 5:30 a.m. The apartment complex managers said the neighbors weren't violating anything; they wouldn't go into the apartment to shut it off.
What can be done in the future? What rights do I have as someone who doesn't want to get up at 5:30 a.m.? I already told the neighbor, but someone else could do the same thing later.
At least the noise is over. I'm not sure why the managers refused to enter the apartment to turn off the alarm. Perhaps they didn't think it was loud enough to be considered too noisy? Generally, noise ordinances call for quiet between hours like 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., so it seems that this could be classified as a noise violation. Discuss this with your landlord if it happens again. But first of all, tell all your neighbors what happened so they don't make the same mistake when they go on vacation.
WASHINGTON: What recourse do I have if I have a severe bug problem in my apartment and the apartment company ignores my pleas to send an exterminator? There are several other tenants in our small building who have indicated they also have a bug problem, especially with cockroaches. They have also contacted the apartment company. This is getting to be really disgusting and hard to live with. Is it legal for me to hire my own exterminator? I am about to do that, even if I have to pay for it.
You can hire an exterminator; just let your management company know you're doing it.
Sara Gebhardt's Apartment Life column appears biweekly in this section, and her Web chat appears monthly on www.washingtonpost.com. The next chat is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 7.